Pack a shoebox for a child in need
After reaching more than 12 million children in 2016, Operation Christmas Child will again this year ask gift-givers across the country to save for those truly in need.
To participate, Garfield County residents only need to fill empty shoe boxes with gifts that include school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys.
From 1990 through today, Operation Christmas Child, a Samaritan’s Purse project, has delivered thousands of shoe boxes to millions of children around the world. Last year the Western Slope alone contributed nearly 10,000 shoe boxes to the project.
This year National Collection Week runs from Nov. 13 to 20. With sites in Rifle at Rocky Mountain Baptist Church and in New Castle at New Hope Church, these two western communities will serve as the central drop-off locations for the county.
Rifle coordinator Heidi Ross said the project started in 1990 to provide children in need a gift. After partnering with the Samaritan Purse in 1993, 28,000 boxes were sent to children around the world. Last year, that number reached nearly 13 million.
“Everybody has a shoe box in their house,” Ross said. “Simply take an old shoe box and pack it with hygiene items, school supplies, games, toys and more.”
Ross said that of the 9,012 boxes collected at the Western Slope drop-off sites, 308 boxes came from the Rifle location.
The website, samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child, helps explain how to pack the shoe box, what to pack, what not to pack and will let you track your shoe box after its been sent out.
This year toothpaste and candy are no longer allowed in shoe boxes due to customs regulations, and a $9 donation per shoe box is critical to cover shipping and other expenses, according to the website.
“You can do it all online, and we will build your box for you if you prefer,” Ross added.
Operation Christmas Child delivers these shoe box gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine, according to a press release.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call 303-745-9179 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoe box gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoe boxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories, states the press release.